Even in my days of being in the state basketball squad (not necessarily because I was skilled - not many people tried out, I got in by default), where I was playing sport and swimming almost every day of the week, I have never been a runner. Ever. I struggle to run even a minute or 2. I can play a game of netball without a problem, because I can stop and start all the time, I get a break after a sprint! But tell me just to run as long as I can without stopping - blink and you'll miss it. But I've always WANTED to be able to go running, and like it. Never happened so far though.
I still am not a fabulous runner. However I discovered a program that has really helped me improve my ability to run for longer periods of time, and to cover a respectable distance in a respectable time. For me anyway.
Couch to 5km program/app is what has done it for me. The thing is, you're not expected to run that long. The program works in intervals, you run for 60 seconds and then walk for 90 seconds, and you repeat that for 20 minutes, including a 5 minute walking warm up/cool down. It even SOUNDS less taxing than saying "I'm going for a 3.5km run". Once you've done that 3 times (technically you should do them in a week), you go up a level, and run for a bit longer. Each week the length of time you run increases a bit, and eventually, the walking recovery will decrease.
Why does this work?
For me, it's all mental. If I were to just go out and run, I would feel defeated very quickly. I just can't run that far, and it becomes painfully obvious when you go out that you're just not good at this. C25K tells you to stop and walk. It's not cos you can't do it, this is what the program says. It's challenging, but it's not TOO challenging. You're left feeling like this is a totally achievable amount to run, and it's all over in 30 minutes.
I started to look forward to my runs, and I felt totally energised the following day! Me? A runner? Not yet, but I'm getting there!
The app is free on iPhone and Android - with a paid upgrade to the pro version.